When the Surface RT launched back in October, it represented a new direction for Microsoft as the platform was running on an ARM processor. By using an alternative CPU, this opened up the possibilities for other vendors to supply the chips that power Microsoft devices. But, with sales not lining up to expectations, Microsoft was forced to write-down the current Surface RT inventory by $900 million and lowered the price of the Surface to help move units.
Couple the write-down with an aggressive advertisement campaign; you would expect that more RT units would by coming off the shelves and into consumer hands. But, until Microsoft gives us more information about sales of the RT tablets, we can only take at face value what the market shows and at this time, the $900 million write-down speaks for itself.
Knowing that Microsoft had trouble moving RTs and that some vendors are now backing away from the platform, whispers began to make the rounds that Microsoft might drop the platform and avoid taking another huge loss. But, if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again, right?
Microsoft is building a Surface RT 2 and for those of you who are hoping for a total revamp of the tablet, lower your expectations. The Surface RT 2 is in the process of being built and according to our internal sources, looks very similar to the current iteration of the Surface RT.
Expect to see the Surface RT 2 to look visually similar to the current RT but with a modest spec bump under the hood. This should not come as a major surprise as the Surface form-factor works quite well and upping the specs will help to keep the RT competitive with market comparable.
Current rumors suggest that there will be a Snapdragon 800 powering the device (check out our hands on here) which will increase horsepower with a smaller footprint on the battery.
While we don’t have any additional information on a launch, expectation would suggest that when Windows 8.1 launches, we should see a Surface announcement around that time.
We will be quite curious to see the price-point for the launch as Microsoft has already shown that at the $499 price point, the RT is a tough sell to the consumer despite its value proposition of including Office. The current $350 price point appears to be much more consumer friendly and also handily undercuts it’s strongest completion from Apple.